Our love affair with all things bacon seems far from over even though Americans are paying more for it than ever. Two years ago, bacon shortages were predicted and the price has been steadily rising ever since. In fact, the price of bacon is now at an all time high, having risen in price an average of 41 percent since 2012.

Bloomberg reports that the average price for a pound of bacon is now about $6.11 a pound and costs may still rise through August. Yet, people aren’t buying less. Although prices have risen about 14 percent in the past year alone, sales of bacon has risen by 11 percent. Americans obsession with bacon, whether it’s served traditionally on the side of pancakes or breaded and turned into chicken fried bacon, rages on.

What’s causing the price of bacon to rise? A deadly virus, the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, has killed off some of the pigs being raised for food. Slaughter over the past year has fallen 4.8 percent. Supply is down but demand is up. Simple economics means the price will rise.

If you love the taste of bacon, but the prices are getting too steep, remember bacon is so flavorful that a little goes a long way. Try one of these recipes that include bacon, but won’t use up the entire pound you buy.

  • Rutabaga Hash with Onions and Crisp Bacon – This vegetable hash uses only 6 slices of bacon.  
  • Bacon and Summer Vegetable Medley – Only four slices of bacon go in this side dish that uses plenty of seasonal vegetables that are inexpensive right now.
  • BELT Sandwich (Bacon, Egg, Lettuce & Tomato) – The classic summer sandwich adds an egg and uses 4 to 6 slices of bacon. Stick with four slices to keep the cost down.
  • Cooked Kale with Bacon – Three slices of bacon, plus their rendered fat, give a lot of flavor to inexpensive kale you can pick up at the farmers market.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Bacon prices are higher than ever but demand hasn’t decreased
If your taste buds demand bacon, but the price is straining your food budget, try a recipe that uses just a little bacon but brings a lot of bacon flavor.